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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover, written and illustrated by Josh Schneider. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Thomas Allen & Son, 2014. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"But one day Princess
Sparkle-Heart had an accident.

Amelia was so sad.
She cried and cried.

"Don't worry," said
Amelia's mother."

If you are a careful observer of dogs, you might notice on the dedication page that Amelia and her pet have differing opinions of fun. Amelia is totally taken with her princess doll. Her canine pal, ball in mouth, is looking longingly at Amelia, and with undisguised contempt for Princess Sparkle-Heart.

Turn the page and the feelings are even more apparent. A persistent GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR crosses the page, while Amelia continues to cavort, Princess Sparkle-Heart in hand. It doesn't get any better as the two share a tea party, a royal wedding, even secrets (poor penguin knows how secrets can hurt). There are few activities that go unshared. Well, the princess cannot abide baths.

When Princess Sparkle-Heart thus becomes victim to uncontrolled anger from the family pet, Amelia cannot contain her grief. Her mother is full of assurance and offers a solution. While the dog happily gnaws at what is left of the Princess, Amelia and her mother must make difficult and acceptable decisions about reconstruction.

The results are absolutely perfect!

The writing is brilliant. The details added to each spread enlighten and entertain at every turn. Using watercolor and pen and ink, Josh Schneider assures that his readers are well aware of all of the pretend play that leads the dog to unleash its fury, and to the final resolution for all parties concerned.


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